Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Friday, March 8 @ 2:15 p.m. / Ocean, Tribal Affairs

Yurok Tribe, Tolowa Dee-ni' Nation Formally Oppose Offshore Wind Energy Projects

Great Seal of the Tolowa Dee-ni' Nation

Two indigenous tribes whose ancestral territory includes Del Norte County have officially opposed the floating wind energy farms being developed off the North Coast.

The Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation Tribal Council passed a resolution in November urging the U.S. Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to halt all scoping and permitting for offshore wind projects, according to a tribal news release on Friday.

Yurok Tribal Seal

According to tribal spokeswoman Emily Reed, the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation waited until March to announce its opposition to offshore wind energy because “we weren’t ready” in November.

The Yurok Tribal Council also announced its opposition of floating wind energy projects “off the Yurok Coastline” on Wednesday.

In a statement on Facebook, the Tribal Council pointed to a resolution the National Congress of American Indians issued in January asking the Biden administration to stop permitting wind projects “until the completion of a comprehensive and transparent procedure adequately protecting tribal environmental and sovereign interests is developed and implemented.”

The Tribal Council plans to issue a similar resolution soon, according to the tribe’s Facebook post. Their opposition comes after a Yurok Tribal summit in January on offshore wind energy that included input from East Coast tribes.

“The East Coast tribes voiced grave concerns about developers’ attempts to subvert laws that protect tribal lands and spiritual sites,” the Yurok Tribal Council stated Wednesday.

Opposition from both tribal communities comes as two energy companies, Vineyard Offshore and RWE, develop floating wind turbines off of Humboldt Bay.

It also comes as local elected officials and residents wrap their heads around what offshore wind energy might mean for them — especially since the California Energy Commission has identified Del Norte County as one of six areas that has the potential to host floating wind turbines.

At a community panel discussion on offshore wind on Saturday, Crescent City Harbor Commissioner Wes White, who has been researching the industry for about nine years, said Del Norte has a “minimum of a decade” before any offshore wind energy production occurs.

In its news release, the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation, states offshore wind energy development lacks tribal involvement and research as well as studies focusing on the environmental impact the “windmills” will have on the ocean floor and marine species.

“The Federal government has a legal obligation to consult with Tribal Nations on any activities that may affect their lands and resources,“ the tribe states. “We ask the administration to incorporate the essential value of tribal co-stewardship, co-decision-making and co-management of traditional tribal lands and waters. Incorporating Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation’s traditional ecological knowledge through co-management of tribal lands and associated life forms is critical to protecting the environment for years to come.”

The Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation also called on its citizens to reach out to elected representatives to “halt all offshore wind projects and to advocate for the protection of our limited coastal resources.”


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